Italy v England - story of the match

Italy v England - story of the match

If England coach Eddie Jones retained any doubts about Sam Simmonds' suitability as an worldwide No. 8 prior to defeating Italy in the Six Nations, his misgivings would have been allayed by the Exeter forward's barnstorming championship debut.

Mike Brown retains the fullback jersey, with Anthony Watson and Jonny May on the wings.

The Exeter No. 8 then turned provider three minutes later, supplying the assist for replacement Jack Nowell to mark his first game for England in a year with a try.

Ben Te'o will make his first England appearance in almost a year after being selected at outside centre in the defending champions' Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on Sunday.

His second try was a case in point.

England scrum-half Ben Youngs could miss the rest of the Six Nations after injuring his knee during his team's 46-15 win against Italy.

Nevertheless, an Italy side where seven players were making their tournament debuts, while veteran Alessandro Zanni was winning his 100th cap, hit back with a 20th-minute try.

The winners of the last two wooden spoons were refreshingly positive and replied with two tries of their own from Tommaso Benvenuti and Mattia Bellini with Tommaso Allan kicking a conversion and penalty.

The red-hot Bath flier Watson took just 10 minutes to nail his superb double in this bonus-point win at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Props Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole both made ground in a series of rapid breakdown plays.

He was replaced by Danny Care, who became England's joint most-capped scrum half with Dawson on 77 caps.

Te'o's only previous England start was also against Italy past year when they they struggled to deal with the Italians' surprise "no ruck" tactics before coming from behind at halftime to emerge 36-15 winners.

Late in the first half, Italy tried to catch England out by running a close-range penalty.

Italy may now have lost all 24 of their Tests against England but they were only 17-10 down at half-time.

Having risen to prominence in the Premiership semi-finals last May, before making his global debut last November, Simmons has been trusted by Eddie Jones to start the Six Nations as his No 8 due to the injuries sustained by Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes, and the Exeter Chief certainly rewarded the head coach for his faith with two second-half tries and a performance of worthy of the worldwide stage.

Italy refused to let England get away, however, and Bellini touched down in the left corner in the 58th minute following another wonderful pass from Allan.

But the Ford-Farrell axis combined again to bring England's fifth try with 11 minutes remaining.

Eventually, tiredness began to show in the home ranks and George Ford finished off another Farrell break before Simmonds stole in for his second.

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